As the car turned at the junction of Lilavati Hospital and MET College, I saw an old man, probably returning from a trip to the hospital, waiting patiently on the road divider. I stopped the car for him to cross the road. He didn't move; cars usually don't stop so that old people can cross the road. It took some time for him to realize and to step off the divider. In that split second, at least two of the cars that had come to a halt behind me, honked.

A little further, at the junction of Hill Road and SV Road, at any given time of day, a crowd of pedestrians collects on the Hill Road side and in its impatience to cross the road, begins edging its way towards the middle of the road. Soon it is large and far enough for cars to come to a crawl and then to a halt. The traffic light still shows green for vehicles and red for pedestrians.

And if you thought that democracy is about rights of the individual, then you are wrong. It is about the power of the herd. At least in the world's largest democracy.


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